Zionism 8/10/2012 10:38:00 AM
One has to understand modern political Zionism as one of the several
nationalists movements that emerged in Europe during the 19 thcentury.
This modern political Zionism, as we call it, is different from the
traditional wish among Jews to return to Zion in, so far, as the
orthodox believe that this was a matter that god alone could
o For orthodox Jews, the return to Zion represented indicated
And in contrast, in many ways as we hope to
demonstrate in the midst of this lecture, what we call
modern political Zionism, that is the Zionism that we
say emerges among many nationalisms in the late 19 th
and early 20 centuries.
This is, in an important sense, a secular movement given that
proponents of this modern political Zionism.
They reject both assimilation into a broader European culture.
o But they also, at the same time, reject an entirely faith based
So we find them straddling some very interesting positions.
The principle dilemma that Jews faced in 19 century Europe was a
particular contradiction, it was a contradiction between the promises of a
quality that existed in the law, in many places, and the failure of European
states to fulfill that promise in practice.
This contradiction was particularly glaring in eastern Europe, as
Jews theyre faced wide spread and repeated violent prosecutions. The four most impetus, though, to the Jewish emancipation, movements for
Jewish emancipation, was the French revolution.
The French revolution was key in this during which Jews were
promised equal citizenship as long as, and this was an important
paragon established by the French revolution, Jews shed their
communal ties in favor of an individual subjectivity.
We see emancipation following, that which happens in France, in
o Great Britain in 1858.
o Switzerland in 1866.
o Austria in 1867.
o Italy in 1870.
o and then in Germany in 1871.
However, we mentioned eastern Europe before, emancipation of the
Jews of Russia would not emerge until as late as 1915.
And so, it is for this reason that one can really look to eastern Europe for
those initial stirrings of Zionist thoughts and organization.
In the 19 century, three quarters of the worlds Jews resided in the
eastern Europe (an important statistics).
o Particularly in the lands of, what was then, the Russian
Under the partition of Boland in 1772, among Russia,
Prussia and Austria, the Jewish population of Russia
And Catherine the Great saw this as a potential
And in 1790 and 1791, Catherine the Great decided that
Jews could live only in particular areas of the Russian empire, namely western areas of the empire, Striching
from the Baltic sea to the black sea.
Essentially what did this mean? it meant that Jews
could only reside in territory that was formally at Boland
or in southwest Russia.
In these areas of the Russia empire, poverty was
an enormous problem.
Areas, in which, the common language of
Jews was Yiddish.
Beyond the problem of poverty though, Jews
faced encroachments from the state.
We already see the form of dictates that
Jews only can reside in particular areas of
But there are also encroachments from the
state in the form of legislation, which
regulate other very significant parts of their
o For instance, they were prevailed into
particular fields of work, in which they
were though not to threaten the Jobs
o So, there were prescriptions as to the
particular fields of work that Jews
could take on.
And further, from 1827 onwards, Jews were
subject to conscription into the army of the Zar and yet, and this was the legal distinction, in
contrast to most conscripts Jews were expected to
remain in the army for 25 years.
Again, very significant discrimination.
However, this is not to say, and it would be a
mistake to think so, that Zionism emerge simply
as a reaction to discrimination.
And, indeed, one can not grasp the intellectual
roots of Zionism, the modern political movement
that we are discussing, without an understanding
of the Haskalah movement, otherwise known as
the Jewish enlightenment.
Jewish enlightenment :-
This Jewish enlightenment had emerged in Germany in the late 18 thcentury.
With the emblematic figure of Moses Mendelssohn, the author of implication
of mathematical prove to metaphysics.
The participants in the movement, in this Jewish enlightenment
movement, were attracted particularly to the notion of legal
o Equality before the law.
And, in a sense of a peace for that desire for legal equality, they
viewed education as critically important to the realization of their
o A realization above all social mobility within society.
This was, its very difficult to speak bout the Jewish enlightenment
as sort of coherent movement there were lots of diverse trends